Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2015

Crysta Leong
Extending Graphic Zones
Crysta Leong
Extending Graphic Zones

“Extending Graphic Zones” demonstrates how the appropriation of one consumer product’s graphic language, and all its cultural associations and the values they represent, may be applied to another. By applying different graphic ideas to a simple bottle from the skincare brand Cetaphil, this project explores how far a product’s visual identity can be altered without losing its symbolic value. Deploying both appropriation and misappropriation can test the limits of established identities, identifying what might be called an elasticity factor for a brand identity. How far can you push an identity before it breaks? Finding this limit is the function of the project. Displayed on each spread of the book format used to test the concept is the altered version of the bottle on the right and the left page lists qualities of the brand that is applied to the altered bottle. Can both be interpreted as a genuine Cetaphil product? A few variables are kept as constants, the color scheme and the bottle shape, so that as each face-front presentation is altered, one can interpret the aesthetics envelope. By applying the different identities from a variety of appropriated cultural spaces, the book is able to show that given products, skincare in this instance, do not necessarily have to rely on skin and beauty branding themes to be effective. Rather, they may actually find new expressions by allowing the identity to be more elastic. While this study is limited to Cetaphil, the same strategy could be applied across other industries, from services to products, from the ephemeral to the physical.


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Stephanie Leone
Ways of Breaking
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Nothing to See Here